Category Archives: Savage Worlds

skyrim-mountains

Roleplaying in the world of The Elder Scrolls series

Recently I have started playing “The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim” again. The fifth game in the Elder Scrolls series is one of my favorite computer games and even though some people call it “dumbed down”, I still love it a lot. What I like the most about the game (aside from the open gameplay and the excellent soundtrack) is it’s lore. The Elder Scrolls universe can easily compete with famous D&D worlds like the Forgotten Realms. There’s a history stretching back thousands of years, there are nine playable races with different cultures, there are memorable characters and a vast world to explore. What makes The Elder Scrolls interesting is that while it shares a lot of tropes with “regular” fantasy worlds, most of them come with a “twist”.

As a long-time fan of the series I often mused about running a TES-inspired roleplaying campaign. Of course a project like this can be pretty daunting, but my recent success with my Fallout conversion to Fudge, made me consider working on a TES pen & paper game again. Writing a conversion to Fudge would probably work, but I also see a lot of similarities between the system used in the Elder Scrolls computer games and Runequest. Both are basically skill-based and use percentile values. In both RQ and the TES games you improve your skills by using them. Both magic systems are based on some kind of spell points. Writing a TES conversion for Runequest shouldn’t be particularly hard.

The big question is how closely I want the rules to resemble the source material. If the focus is on converting the setting (and not the rules), you can basically use Savage Worlds, Fate Core, etc. without much hassle. But for some reason I feel that the mechanics used in the TES series are part of its charm. At the moment I am looking into various RQ variants and other systems to find mechanics that closely fit my vision of a TES pen & paper game, so that the work to write a conversion is minimized.

Alas using computer roleplaying games as a basis for pen & paper campaigns also has its share of problems. If your players are avid fans of the series you can’t just recycle quests and stories from the computer games, and they may actually know the lands of Tamriel better than the GM. Especially the latter may cause long discussions with your players. Another common issue is that computer game worlds are often extremely small. I still cringe when I think about Ultima IX’s Britannia. The capital of a whole continent was reduced to a handful of houses. Ouch. In such cases the immersion goes right out of the window! Luckily the world of Tamriel feels almost big enough to not have this particular problem.

At the moment I’m in a very early planning phase because I am still busy running Fallout Fudged! and my other group has expressed interest in Shadowrun. But as I wrote in an earlier post, I’ve decided to start planning earlier. What are your thoughts on this project? What system would you use? Do you think Fudge might work or do I need something a little bit more crunchy? What about Runequest? Please share your thoughts below!

Ask the Readers: What about this alien species?

AlienHello dear readers! Not writing too much on the blog these days, mainly because I’m working on my Thesis. But on those days when the writing is done and I’m not ready to go to bed, I need to work on something else, something to unwind. So I’ve kept tolling away on my sci-fi campaign, Wanderers of the Outlands. I’ve written at length about it here, and one of the topics was alien species. I’ve settled on two alien species for the game, and they will not be common, my idea is for the game to be very human centric.

One of the races is a cat-like species, something common to many sci-fi setting, but for the other species I was going for something completely different, at least as different as I could conceive it! Thus where born the Vuluhuan…

So why does it say “Ask the Readers in the title of the post? I would want your feedback on the species, and specifically about the rules portion. This is my first attempt at constructing such a complex race for Savage Worlds. I know there are Savage Worlds fans among our readers and I will appreciate your input.

Thanks for reading…

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Same game, new tools!

Tumbs upAbout two years and a half ago (can’t believe I’ve been blogging here for that long) I wrote a post about the then new game I was playing, Mutants & Masterminds, and I wrote about the tools I was using then for the campaign. They included an Excel sheet for character creation, a campaign Facebook group, so on and so forth. Here is the link for the post. As time has gone by I have only expanded the electronic tools I’m using…

I’m also gone FULL digital. I run all my games from my computer. This is facilitated that my current campaign is a Pathfinder RPG game and there are some excellent resources that allow me to run the game from my computer with minimal book look up, including first and foremost the Pathfinder Reference Document by Paizo and the Pathfinder SRD (which also has SRD for Swords & Wizardry, Heroes of the Modern Path, i.e. a modern version of Pathfinder, and d20 Hero SRD which is the SRD for Mutants & Masterminds).

I’ve developed my own tools to use in my games, Excel sheets for tracking experience points, Power Point presentations to share information, and I’ve embraced PDFs. If available I’ll get PDF copies of the games I’m running. The price of some PDFs can still be a stumbling block. Paizo has very reasonably prices PDFs of their core Pathfinder books, most are $10.00. Pinnacle has their Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorers Edition, both in PDF and print, available for $9.99, that’s a price you can’t beat for a full game. Green Ronin Mutants & Masterminds / DC adventures PDFs are double the price of the other books, but I love their system so much I’ll get them anyway. And I usually get physical books as well and Green Ronin has some nice pre-order prices where you get the PDF at a discounted price.

facebook-logoAs I worked on the Pathfinder swashbuckling game I developed a Google Sites page for the game, and did the same for a very short zombie game (which I posted about here and here). However more and more I am using Facebook for my campaigns. I realize the social media giant has lost a lot of love out there, but the fact is ALL my players are there and use it regularly, so it’s become the most convenient way to share information. The files options in Facebook groups, the ability to create them privately, and the ease of sharing campaign images via the pictures and picture albums, have replaced my Google sites.  I currently have four campaign groups, one for my current fantasy game, another for my past supers game and for the zombie game, and another for the next game, our sci-fi campaign.

Google-logo1 (1)I have not ended my love for Google mind you! I still use Google Drive to share some documents and collaborate with my players and friends, most notably the Pathfinder campaign experience points. I add each session’s award to a Google Docs spreadsheet and the PC’s check it to see when they level up. They are not even writing down their XP anymore.

youtube-logo2How to handle music in my games has been an ongoing battle. I went from no music, to carrying around a CD case with all the soundtracks I used for my games, to creating playlists in my iPod. What I’ve begun to do recently is create playlists on YouTube. There are a LOT of videos for game and movie soundtracks and I just pull them in appropriate playlists and play at my games. Or try, I forge oftentimes, but that’s my new thing. For example here are the playlists for my current Pathfinder swashbuckling game, and for my upcoming Wanderers of the Outlands sci-fi game.

WCCOne last thing… For the Wanderers of the Outlands campaign we’ll be using Savage Worlds and I intend to use Journeyman Games’ Wild Card Creator, since I backed the Kickstarter.

So that’s the state of technology in my game. I wonder; what tools are my fellow gamers and readers of this blog using? Anything you’d like to share? I’m always looking for new tools!

Thanks for reading…